Former Hutzler's already half full 3 tenants lined up for Towson Circle

opening is next month

Retailing

October 07, 1998|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,SUN STAFF

Six weeks before Barnes & Noble Inc. becomes the first retailer to operate in the former Hutzler's department store in Towson in nearly a decade, developers have leased half the retail space and are working to round out the project with about five more stores, including a restaurant and fashion retailers.

A Barnes & Noble book and music store is scheduled to open Nov. 18 in the newly named Towson Circle, at the corner of York and Joppa roads. A second tenant, Sprint Corp., also plans to open next month, while a two-level Pier One Imports is to open early next year.

The three tenants will occupy about half of the 120,000 square feet of retail space in the four-level building, said Glenn L. Weinberg, a senior vice president with Baltimore-based Cordish Co., which is developing the project along with Towson-based Heritage Properties Inc.

The building's top two levels, not included in the retail space, are occupied by Storage USA, a residential and commercial storage facility that owns its 120,000-square-foot space.

The developers expect to secure the remaining tenants in time ** for the project to be complete by spring or early summer, Weinberg said.

Developers had been in talks with Gap Inc.'s Old Navy Clothing and Saks Inc.'s Off 5th. Weinberg would say only that those retailers are still possibilities for the $20 million project.

When Barnes & Noble opens, with a Starbucks cafe and music department, shoppers will find 400 parking spaces in a new lot across Shealy Avenue just southwest of Towson Circle, as well as in a below-street-level lot across Joppa Road.

Storefronts will line York and Joppa roads, while several stores, including Barnes & Noble and Pier One, will also have below-street-level entrances from the Joppa Road parking lot. That lot will be accessible both from a Joppa Road ramp and from a Towson Town Center mall parking lot on Dulaney Valley Road.

The old windowless Hutzler's facade will be completely transformed as well, with a stucco-like exterior and large windows.

Weinberg said the developers are counting on pedestrian traffic from the nearby Baltimore County courts, law offices and residences as well as mall shoppers attracted to the new stores.

"We don't see this as competition with the mall," Weinberg said. "When shoppers come to the mall, they will be able to come to Barnes & Noble and Pier One. It will be nice and user friendly."

The developers are also continuing to negotiate with a hotel operator who would build a four- or five-story hotel tower at the corner of Joppa Road and a mall access road, directly above a portion of Towson Circle's parking lot.

Pub Date: 10/07/98

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